ELK GROVE — Tenants in an Elk Grove shopping center are furious after their new landlord announced plans to build a hospital on their property without telling them first.
Bill Shehadeh has been running his wine, liquor and cigar store for the past 10 years. He opened inside the shopping center near Elk Grove Boulevard and Interstate 5 during the height of the recession.
“Businesses were closing down,” said Bill Shehadeh, the owner of Stonelake Vine & Spirits. “It was tough, it was a tough period.”
After surviving that turbulent time, he put in custom oak shelves and has poured more money into the store.
A few months ago, he learned his landlord sold the property to nearby California Northstate University. And just this week, he learned CNU wants to build a hospital on the same property.
“I was at a wedding, at a reception, and I got a text from one of my customers and they were like, ‘Did you see this in the Elk Grove forum? There’s this thing about tearing down the shopping center you’re in.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, this is crazy,’” he told FOX40.
On Friday, a major hurdle was cleared for the project. The Elk Grove City Council approved an issuance of $900 million in bonds for the building of the hospital.
“If you’re going to build a hospital in here, when were you going to tell us?” Shehadeh said.
“Communication between us and the representatives has not been good,” said CNU spokesman Brian Holloway. “So that we are just now reaching out to the tenants directly ourselves.”
Holloway told FOX40 construction on the hospital will not start for at least another year. The hospital, which would be a 250-bed facility, has not even been approved by the city yet.
Meanwhile, Holloway said CNU promises to pay for all relocation costs to the tenants.
“We will hire an architect to design their new space inside. We will pay for the construction,” he said. “All costs are on us to get them into their new space.”
That may not be easy for Dr. Amoldeep Singh Toor, who opened Stonelake Animal Hospital in the shopping center back in January 2018. Dr. Toor said he spent almost $1 million remodeling the inside of his clinic.
“We had to build this whole thing because this was just an open area,” Toor explained.
Both Dr. Toor and Shehadeh said relocating may not be the best option and they might be too close to other competing businesses.
“I did my whole research. This place didn’t have a hospital too close by other hospitals. So, this was a good spot to open up a vet hospital but I didn’t know that this was going to happen,” Toor said.
“I mean, this is our livelihood. This is how I pay my mortgage payments,” Shehadeh said.